Colonel Michael Shupp is a VMI graduate. Currently, he is the legislative assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But, in November of 2004, Colonel Shupp was the commander of Regimental Combat Team-1. I recently interviewed Colonel Shupp about his participation in the fight to free Fallujah. We spoke for over four hours.
I have been transcribing his interviews this week and I came across a portion of the interview that I want to share with you all:
We had been talking in his Washington D.C. office for nearly an hour. We had already covered the preparations for battle and RCT-1′s initial thrust into the northwest section of Fallujah, when the subject of the Iraqi forces came up. In April, 2004, Iraqi forces broke and ran before they ever reached the fight in Fallujah.
The November fight would be different. This would be the first time the new Iraqi Army would fight alongside American forces against the thugs and insurgents who were bringing chaos to their country. The interview picks up here with Colonel Shupp speaking:
As we brought the Iraqi forces into the city along HENRY, I could tell they were scared. Our regimental staff went to the lead of the formation and greeted them and marched them into the city. I wanted them to see that we were all going to be together. Their brigade commander was with me. We walked them into their position.
With Jim Rainey’s Bradley’s there, it was the perfect mission for them. They put up barriers, concertina. They put up tetrahedrons and they blocked HENRY – that whole eastern side of the city. Nothing could come across. It was isolating my flank for me. They did a magnificent job. I couldn’t have been happier with them.
The Bradleys gave them the courage they needed…They had been given two weeks of training in Baghdad, before they were sent to us. What would I do to those young people, if I were to have put them out there in a fight like that? I would have been just putting them out for the slaughter. I couldn’t do it. So, I gave them a mission they could do with their abilities.
Me: And something you actually needed?
Now, here is a true leader. He was concerned about his Marines, his soldiers and the Iraqi soldiers under his command. He worked diligently to give all his units assignments for which they were suited – then he led them from the front.
You will hear much, much more about Colonel Michael Shupp in my book. For now, I wanted to give you all some insight into the fantastic leadership during Operation al Fajr. Colonel Shupp was not alone. Later, I will introduce LtCol Pat Malay, Major Todd Desgrosseilliers, Captain Dan Wirttnam, Lt. Edward Iwan and many, many more.